Equalizing Your Ears

As you descend below the water surface, you'll experience increasing pressure inside your ears. If you ignore this pressure, serious injury to your ears can result. You'll learn more about ear squeezes and how they occur during future chapters, but for now it's important to know how to equalize your ears in order to avoid injury.

The Valsalva maneuver is the most common method used for equalizing the ears. To use this method, pinch your nose and gently exhale against the nose. This forces air into your middle ear and relieves the ear squeeze.

You should begin equalizing before you feel any discomfort, and repeat it every few feet while you descend. If you are unable to equalize, immediately ascend and discuss the problem with your instructor.

diver equalizing his ears